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Sebastiano di Rè

(born in Chioggia, active between c. 1557–78 in Venice and Rome)

Two Scenes of a Fight between a Horse and a Lion. Two engravings, measuring 24.3 x 29.4 and 22.3 x 31.7 cm respectively, printed on a single sheet measuring 54.3 x 42.4 cm. 1578. Nagler, Die Monogrammisten IV, 4058, respectively undescribed. Watermark: Coat of arms with fleur-de-lys and crossed keys (Woodward 114 ff, Rome, from 1566 onward).

Sebastiano di Rè, an engraver originating from Chioggia near Venice, is known to have been in Venice and Rome between c. 1557 and 1578. In 1560 he is mentioned as a member of the Congregazione dei Virtuosi al Pantheon in Rome. Nagler (Neues Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon) and Le Blanc record a total of six engravings, but do not list the present two prints. No further informative biographical data are available. The artist is also known by the name of Sebastianus a Regibus Clodiensis or Sebastianus Clugiensis (from Chioggia; see Nagler, Die Monogrammisten IV, 4052, 4056 and 4058). In that publication the excellent Georg Kaspar Nagler refers under the last number to the uppermost of the two engravings, which is based on an invention by Polidoro da Caravaggio.

Both engravings bear the address of the Novara-born publisher Pietro Paolo Palumbo, who was active in Rome between c. 1563 and 1586 and whose shop was located near the Church of San Agostino, close to the Piazza Navona. The prints are dated 1578 and are thus the latest known works of Sebastiano di Rè. They are executed in a very disciplined and powerful engraving technique, which is very expressive in its austerity. While the upper print reproduces an invention by Polidoro, the lower one is derived from a classical sculpture, which according to the inscription was found at the Capitol. The deliberate stylistic resemblance of the two fight scenes show Polidoro da Caravaggio to be an outstanding and artistically significant successor to the classical tradition.

Superb, clear and tonal impressions, printed on the full sheet. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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